ARTICLES

BEGGING THE QUESTION

RABBI JONNY ROSS

May 2, 2017

There was a class I used to attend, that required a large amount of analytical thinking. I went regularly but never said much, as at points I was a little out of my depth and the teacher was this super genius, whom I didn’t quite have the guts to approach.

One time though, I had this great question which I was sure was going to earn me the admiration of the whole class - or so I thought. I raised my hand and timidly started to ask. After only a few words in, I was cut off by the teacher, who shouted out aloud “WOW! That’s a good question. I was hoping someone would ask that. That’s a really finely thought out question!” I honestly felt like I had scored the winning goal in the world cup finals. He then turned to the rest of the class and asked if everyone had heard? Many hadn’t, so he began to repeat my question and the more that he explained it, the more I began to feel something wasn’t quite right. The question he was repeating wasn’t the one I had asked. It was much better, and one I probably would never have thought of. At which point a ‘helpful’ student sitting next to me shouted out, “That wasn’t his question! He asked...” and repeated my original query.
 
The teachers face dropped from elation to something bordering on disdain. “Oh” he said “That’s all your question was?” All eyes in the room were focused solely on me and I was faced with a choice: Do I swallow my embarrassment and tell the truth or do I lie and gain the respect of the class?
 
This dilemma raises several points and when you have a quiet moment, ask yourself the following questions: If you were completely unconcerned about what others would think, what sort of things might you be able to do in your life? How do you feel, when people like you because they think you are someone you are not? How much energy do you spend doing things to favourably impress others? And if it is a lot, is it worth it?
 

If you answer these questions honestly, you will have some interesting things to think about. I know I did that day.

 

TAGS for this article: Questions